On last night’s episode of
Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver gave away $14 million as part of an effort to
increase awareness of debt, debt buyers, and zombie debt in America.
American households currently own over $12 trillion in debt, $436 billion
of which is past due by 90 days or more. This staggering amount of debt
has led to the creation of a multi-billion dollar industry in which just
about anybody can purchase debt for pennies on the dollar and go after
debtors for repayment. In fact, he showed just how easy it was to do by
paying a mere $50 fee to create his own organization: Central Asset Recovery
Professionals (CARP, for the bottom-feeding fish). For only $60,000, he
was able to purchase $14,922,261.76 in medical debt from more than 9,000
people. Purchasing the debt gave CARP access to the names, Social Security
numbers, and current addresses of each of these people, along with the
amount each allegedly owed. Mr. Oliver described the entire process as
Even more disturbing is the fact that people can legally buy debt in more
than half of U.S. states without a license. And in 17 states, a person
doesn’t need a license to collect a debt, either. Sometimes, the
debts purchased are no longer even legally collectable because the statute
of limitations for those debts has already passed, but collectors often
still attempt to collect them anyway. If they can get a debtor to begin
making payments on an old debt, this can result in what is called a zombie
debt – a “resurrected” debt thatshould be dead and buried.
Instead of using CARP to actually collect on the debts he and his team
purchased, Mr. Oliver had them sent to RIP Medical Debt, an organization
that specializes in forgiving medical debt without leaving the former
debtor with any tax consequences. More than $14 million in debt forgiveness
makes this the biggest giveaway in TV history.
Watch the full video here:
Struggling with medical debt? There is hope. Get in touch with a Chicago
debt relief attorney at Sulaiman Law Group, LTD to discuss your options.
We can be reached at